After this last round of winter weather, it's great to have a nice day in Cape Girardeau! More spring days will be here before we know it, and after the winter we've had, many Missourians are itching to get back outside. If you're planning on riding a bicycle either for transportation or enjoyment this year, it's a good idea to refresh your memory about safe riding practices. In this post, our auto accident lawyers share four facts about bicycle accidents, and we encourage drivers and cyclists to work together to share the road safely this spring.
Four facts about bicycle accidents in southeast Missouri and nationwide
1. Many bicycle accidents happen in intersections. It can be difficult for motor vehicle drivers to see bicyclists, since bicycles are smaller and can easily disappear into blind spots or blend into the scenery. It's also common for drivers to misjudge a bicycle's speed and distance. When passing through an intersection, use extra caution and signal your intentions - never assume a driver sees you. Also, remember that bicyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as other drivers, so you must obey all traffic signs and signals.
2. Road hazards can be especially dangerous for cyclists. Since bicycles have thin tires and can be relatively unstable, certain roadway obstacles can be disastrous. Be on the lookout for potential hazards like potholes, sewer grates and railroad tracks, which commonly cause cyclists to lose control and crash.
3. Bicycle-related injuries can have serious, long-term consequences. According to 2005 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $5 billion." Serious bike accidents can include road rash, contusions, broken or fractured bones, and traumatic brain injuries.
4. The best way to avoid a bicycle-related head injury is to wear a safety helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bicycle safety helmet use is 85 to 88 percent effective in reducing head and brain injuries. In fact, according to NHTSA, "wearing properly fitted bicycle helmets is the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes."